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George Martin's Grillfire - Merrick

33 W. Sunrise Hwy. Merrick, NY 516-379-2222

Mini-hamburgers known as sliders are being cooked at

(Credit: Newsday / Dick Yarwood)

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Critic rating: 2

User rating:
2
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Type: American, Burgers, Karaoke/Open jams Special features: Kid friendly, Bar scene, Happy hour, Weekend brunch, Near LIRR station Price range: $$ (Moderate) Description:

This burger-centric grill shows sharpness on the part of the George Martin Restaurant Group. The Merrick spot, an offshoot of the Rockville Centre original, is friendly, bustling, affordable — a magnet for the family crowd. Even on a weeknight, this stylish place fills up early. Weekends, it's a good bet you'll have to wait a while for a table. Can you blame people for flocking to a spot where a burger or sandwich can feel like a big-deal dinner?

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Ambience: Good Service: Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
Mini-hamburgers known as sliders are being cooked at

Mini-hamburgers known as sliders are being cooked at George Martin's Grillfire in Rockville Centre. (Credit: Newsday / Dick Yarwood)

Transforming a pricey Italian dining spot into a burger-centric grill shows sharpness on the part of the George Martin Restaurant Group. The Merrick spot, an offshoot of the Rockville Centre original, is friendly, bustling, affordable - a magnet for the family crowd. FIRED UP I'm keen on the steamed edamame (dubbed "Japanese peanuts"), served with a chile oil and garlic dipping sauce. And it's hard not to fall for the sliders, a trio of mini-burgers that "slide" down easily. What really gets me going is a harmonious chopped salad of greens, walnuts, golden raisins, roasted peppers, corn and fresh mozzarella. Instead of a balsamic dressing (so tired of balsamic), I get chipotle ranch on the side and am highly pleased. While my Cheddar-topped cheeseburger with shoestring fries is good and fairly juicy, it would be even better if the meat were cooked medium-rare to specifications. But a Cuban-style "mojo" burger - actually a Cuban sandwich of ham, Swiss, mustard sauce and pickles with a burger in the center - is imbued with mucho mojo. So, too, is a juicy provolone cheese steak with crisp onions and steak sauce. A generous special of pork loin with a mustard-rosemary glaze turns out to be as tender as it is flavorful. I can't help but be surprised at how good the homey but oddball chicken meatballs "Marsala" turns out to be - savory spheres topped with creamy gravy and served with mushrooms and egg noodles. Then, there's the creamy, dreamy mac 'n cheese, which I can't stop eating. Hooray - desserts are served with freshly whipped cream. There's warm apple strudel with vanilla ice cream and the restaurant's signature brownie sundae, fudgy-rich and topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and miniature M&M's. FIRE THESE Ginger-vegetable pot stickers are deep fried and way too oily. I'm not sold, either, on the chicken potpie - the filling manages to be both soupy and gluey. A Spartan choice of chicken burger "in a bowl" (an alternative to a bun) actually comes on a plate, a juiceless patty atop an uninspired salad. And the Maryland crab BLT features crab meat that's curiously stringy and dry. BOTTOM LINE Even on a weeknight, this stylish place fills up early. Weekends, it's a good bet you'll have to wait a while for a table. Can you blame people for flocking to a spot where a burger or sandwich can feel like a big-deal dinner? Reviewed by Joan Reminick, 2/5/09.